By Ruta Hsu
On 24 February 2022, Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine. As Ukrainians resisted and people began to clean up the mess left behind in areas occupied by the Russian army – bombed buildings, looted belongings and unidentified bodies – many also encountered a large amount of graffiti.
“This is where those Ukrainian orcs were manufactured,” wrote Russian soldiers on the wall of a school in Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv. In the northeastern city of Kharkiv, in a bar, others wrote, “This is not considered a war crime if you had fun.”
These messages are a small part of the more than 500 inscriptions translated by the Ukrainian non-profit organisation Wall Evidence. In April 2022, they began an online archive to record and translate graffiti, inscriptions, diaries and various materials left behind during the Russian occupation period.
This article first appeared in The Big Issue Taiwan, a magazine sold on the streets of Taipei City, Taiwan, by people who have limited other ways of earning an income.